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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Many on one?  (Read 8607 times)
Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« on: March 19, 2006, 07:39:38 AM »

Looking at the comics, many of them are teams - the X-men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, etc.  And while they do go up against villain teams, its common for them to fight a single powerful foe - like Dr. Doom.

In the Capes system, four heroes against one villain will kick his ass very easily.

In the Fantastic Four universe, when the FF go up against Dr. Doom, even when he has no henchmen or other aids around, it is a pretty even match.

The first question I want to ask is what does everyone think of the idea of playing the Fantastic Four as a single character, instead of as four.

However, the real question I want to ask is how do you have an especially powerful villain that requires a team of heroes to defeat? One which is as powerful as story driving as four normal Capes heroes?
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-Sindyr
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2006, 10:35:33 AM »

Hello Again,

If I may offer a slight shift in concept.  From reading your posts, I think one of the things you are getting hung up on is the idea that this character or that character "should be" this way or that way BEFORE the game begins.  It's the idea that you create a villain and YOU decide before play even begins, "This guys, tough, this guy should require the entire Fantastic Four to beat him."  This is next to impossible in Capes.  Instead, you play that villain with all your heart and soul, and MAYBE it turns out, "Holy crap. this dude is a bad ass, who requires an entire team!" and maybe it turns out that he's a wennie wanna-be villain.

Believe me, I had this villain called Reverend Eden.  I was all set for him to be this earth shattering hell fire and brimstone villain.  But I failed to play him well.  He got bowled over by heroes and even his own henchman across only a few scenes where he failed to so much as establish a base of operations, yet alone bring about the apocalypse.  Oh, well. 

You play Capes when you are willing to allow the play itself to reveal things to you about the characters.  You have to leave your preconceptions of what "should happen" at the door.  That's just totally incompatible with Capes design.

With that said, the way for a single a villain to become that unstoppable force is Debt and Story Tokens.  It turns out that Debt is a GOOD THING.  Even when you're overdrawn, in play, the impact is minimal.  Amass Debt.  Amass Story Tokens by picking your battles carefully.  Then bring the full weight of that down on the other players.

Jesse

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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2006, 10:50:57 AM »

I take your point - I guess your answer is that in Capes, you simply can't create a Villain that is four times more powerful than a Hero.

That while in other rpg's you can design a villain that requires 4 Heroes to beat, in Capes, everything else being equal (all players are equally smart, equally cunning, have equal debt and story tokens to start with, etc) 2 Heroes will most always beat 1 Villain and there is not in Capes any way around that.

So I guess you simply can't have a Villain that (all other things being equal) a single Hero *doesn't* have an even chance of beating.

Well, it's good to know that even a cool game like Capes has some stories that other games tell better - even if Capes is becoming my favorite overall. :)
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-Sindyr
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2006, 11:08:45 AM »

Well, it's good to know that even a cool game like Capes has some stories that other games tell better - even if Capes is becoming my favorite overall. :)

I think you, may be missing my point slightly.  You can't *make* any specific *kind* of story happen in Capes.  You play as hard as you can and you discover what kind of story you made in RETROSPECT.  So, yes, you will get the story about the unstoppable villain that requires a massive team to take out, but you can't do it BEFORE hand.  You can only, discover that this is the kind of story it is mid-play.

I usually, think of it like this:  Capes should be played with 70% of your focus on the conflicts at hand, 20% of your focus on the events that have come before and about 10% focus on what might come to pass in the next scene or two, tops.  If you're trying to create a *specific story arc* or a *specific kind* of story in advance of play itself, you will fail, regardless of what the details of that arc or kind of story is.

Jesse
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2006, 11:47:18 AM »

I think we are fundamentally saying the same thing, in different ways.

Thanks for helping me out with this.
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-Sindyr
Hans
Member

Posts: 576


« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2006, 11:51:24 AM »

Looking at the comics, many of them are teams - the X-men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, etc.  And while they do go up against villain teams, its common for them to fight a single powerful foe - like Dr. Doom.

In the Capes system, four heroes against one villain will kick his ass very easily.

In the Fantastic Four universe, when the FF go up against Dr. Doom, even when he has no henchmen or other aids around, it is a pretty even match.

The first question I want to ask is what does everyone think of the idea of playing the Fantastic Four as a single character, instead of as four.

However, the real question I want to ask is how do you have an especially powerful villain that requires a team of heroes to defeat? One which is as powerful as story driving as four normal Capes heroes?

Four different possibilities:

1) Have all the heroes on one character sheet, as you mention.  I have done this with super villain groups before, and don't see why it wouldn't work with heroes.    The powers could be the names of the FF themselves, and the styles could be things like "Reed comes up with gadget" or "excellent teamwork".

2) have the villain on multiple character sheets.  For example, "Dr. Doom", plus the non-person characters "Dr. Doom's Armor" and "Dr. Doom's Advanced Technology".  Someone would have to pay story tokens for the extra sheets, or you could also have these sheets under the control of different players.

3) Don't have the villain played in the scene at all.  In this case, the players share the narration of Dr. Doom's horrendous activities, but really they are just the back drop for the real story, which is the intereaction within the FF itself, with conflicts like "Goal: Ben becomes a normal human through Dr. Doom's Technology" or "Event: Johnny Storm impresses Crystal with his style" or "Goal: Sue rescues Franklin from Dr. Doom's clutches".

4) Don't have all the heroes played in the scene.  The scene could have all the FF, half the Inhumans, She-Hulk and Tigra all involved, but only Reed Richards might actually be played.  Other players might be playing non-person characters like "Negative Zone Eruption" or other seemingly secondary characters like "Baby Franklin".  In this case, while all the heroes might be around, the real story is the personal grudge between Reed and Doom, and all the other characters are just window dressing (and the other players are probably collaborating to make both Reed and Doom's life miserable in order to get them to hand out story tokens.)
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2006, 11:55:08 AM »

I love your ideas!  Especially #2, but the others ones too.  Thanks!
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-Sindyr
Hans
Member

Posts: 576


« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2006, 11:57:52 AM »

If you're trying to create a *specific story arc* or a *specific kind* of story in advance of play itself, you will fail, regardless of what the details of that arc or kind of story is.

I'm not sure if this is completely true.  I guess it depends on what you mean by "specific".  I will rephrase what you have said somewhat.  "The only way to make any kind of story arc or particular story of your design is to make it so incredibly interesting to the other players that they go along with you on it, and even then only the general outline may turn out as you expected."  I think this is what Tony is getting at in the "A/B Plot" discussion of the rule book.  You can't script something, but you can tempt other players into it.    
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2006, 11:59:55 AM »

2) have the villain on multiple character sheets.  For example, "Dr. Doom", plus the non-person characters "Dr. Doom's Armor" and "Dr. Doom's Advanced Technology".  Someone would have to pay story tokens for the extra sheets, or you could also have these sheets under the control of different players.

Thought just occorred to me:

How about a character on multiple Character Sheets:
Dr. Doom's Cunning (12 Abilties)
Dr. Doom's Resources (12 Abilties)
Dr. Doom's Powers (12 Abilties)
Dr. Doom's Luck (12 Abilties)

Of course it would cost 3 tokens to bring this character into play.

Sound doable?
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-Sindyr
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2006, 09:53:24 PM »

Here's the real trick to playing a good villain in Capes:

Set the heroes against each other.

Drop a Story Token to throw down a conflict that they both care more about winning than stopping you.  Something like "Event: Reed Richards apologizes."  Bam!  You've got a mad fight between the heroes for control over that, and you can waltz off with "Goal: Dr. Doom conquers Latvia" easily.

yrs--
--Ben
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Hans
Member

Posts: 576


« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2006, 06:01:18 AM »

How about a character on multiple Character Sheets:
Dr. Doom's Cunning (12 Abilties)
Dr. Doom's Resources (12 Abilties)
Dr. Doom's Powers (12 Abilties)
Dr. Doom's Luck (12 Abilties)

Go for it!  Even more fun if they are played by DIFFERENT people.  Someone suggested in another thread something along the lines of "Galactus's Head", "Galactus's Left Foot", "Galactus's Right Arm", etc.
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2006, 06:52:39 AM »

Thank you Hans - and Ben, interesting strategy.  I hope I soon am able to actually play the game and start trying things like that out.
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-Sindyr
Eric Sedlacek
Member

Posts: 135

TheCzech


« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2006, 07:35:26 AM »

Capes has a lot of balancing factors that keep conflicts from becoming too one-sided.  If I am Doctor Doom against four players each playing one of the Fantastic Four, I will likely lose any conflict they want to beat me on, but the rules conspire to keep that from happening.  Under that dynamic, story tokens flow from them to me, so while I may win no conflicts, they don't get any story tokens and I potentially get a bunch.

So what is likely to happen is that one or more of the other players is going to want in on some of that gravy, and they can do that in several ways.  First, at the beginning of the scene, they can grab other characters to fight on the villain side.  These can be quick non-debt characters like "innocent bystanders" or "bank robbery"...also handy for debt-free reactions. 

Second, and more importantly, they can introduce conflicts to challange characters other than Doctor Doom.  "Goal: Ben Grimm respects Reed Richard's leadership", etc.  With them expending resources on these conflicts, they can get story tokens but will have fewer resources free to oppose me.  In fact, if I as the Doctor Doom player want some more narrative power, I can introduce these conflicts myself and hope people latch on.

If none of this happens and the imbalance persists, the scene will end quickly because it is uninteresting.  As people play the game more and start to understand the nuances, quick scenes tend to no longer happen by accident.  In fact, it even gets hard to do quick scenes at all because players start to instinctively work to make every scene more interesting.
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2006, 08:49:16 AM »

Eris - this is awful.  The more I hear about the working of this damn game, the more I want to play it!

(grin)

Don't know if I will be able to find another 2-4 people in my area, but doing my darndest - including using all the web based player finding tools I can.

Very, very interesting post, Eric. Thanks.
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-Sindyr
Sydney Freedberg
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Posts: 1293


WWW
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2006, 09:40:12 AM »

2) have the villain on multiple character sheets....

I did an entire post that's variations on this theme (entitled Ubering Characters) -- click the link for details, but for highlights:

....Introduce a bunch of sidekicks / minions, ideally with Debt (Undifferentiated  is fine)....
...Create a character that's not a person, but a powerful artifact with a will (and usually Debt) of its own -- e.g. Sauron's Ring of Power, Elric's sword Stormbringer, even a fiery nimbus of power...
...the base character is a were-wolf (or were-dragon....), so when s/he transforms, the beast-form is introduced as a separate character with its own abilities -- and even its own Debt...
....Introduce a situation character that represents your base character's situational advantages, like "Ambush!" or "My tactical genius"....

And then there's Tony's nastiest tactic: Preventive Goals.

Tony used these to terrifying effect in a recent game: "Goal: Target my character with any kind of attack" to prevent anyone hurting him, "Goal: Slow my character's progress towards his goal" to prevent anyone stopping him," and "Goal: Predict my character's behavior" to render it nigh-impossible to narrate use of a time-traveller's foreknowledge against him. You could also use these offensively, e.g. "Goal: Cease writhing in agony at the piercing whine of The Amazing Shrill" or "Goal: Avoid any blow"
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